I am standing beside the owner of a well-known Niagara winery as a large gang of LCBO honchos from Toronto get ready to officially open one of three new Our Wine Country VQA boutiques inside the Glendale Ave. store in St. Catharines.
When we began our first 30 Days of Ontario wine in 2009, Rosewood Estates had been opened for a year. The new Beamsville winery and meadery was part of the next generation of Ontario wineries bringing fresh ideas, enthusiasm and a commitment to making small batches of high quality local wine.
One of the most exciting developments for Ontario wine lovers over the past few years has been the growth of local wine at the LCBO. Sales of VQA wine at the province's liquor board stores have more than doubled in the last six years.
One of Niagara's newest wineries has some big ambitions. Vieni, which opened early this summer, is 175 acres, grows 17 grape varieties and has a still to produce spirits from local fruit and grape pomace.